Flowers bounce back after injury, according to ScienceDaily 7 April 2020 and BBC News 8 April 2020, and New Phytologist 6 April 2020, doi: 10.1111/nph.16482.
Several years ago Scott Armbruster, now a Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Portsmouth UK, was in Australia where he noticed a trigger plant that had been knocked over when a tree branch fell on it. The plant was still alive but its flowers were now facing the wrong way for bees to land on them. However, the flower-bearing stem was able to bend itself back into a vertical position so that the flowers were returned to their proper orientation.
Over the following years Armbruster and a colleague tested 23 plant species from UK, Europe, Australia and North and South America to see how they recovered from non-lethal injuries that knocked their flowers into a ‘wrong’ position. Not all plants re-orientated their flowers, but some were able to bend their stems or even bend structures within the flowers so they were reset into their original position.
The difference between recovering and non-recovering plants was whether the flowers were radially symmetrical, (round or star shaped), or the flowers were bilaterally symmetrical, (had distinct right and left sides). The round or star-shaped flowers, e.g. petunias, buttercups, stayed as they were after being knocked over, while the plants with bilateral symmetrical flowers, e.g. orchids, snapdragons etc, realigned their flowers to the original orientation.
Armbruster summed up the results to the BBC: “The ones that do it are the ones where it matters. And the ones that don’t do it are the ones where it doesn’t really matter”. He also commented: “This little-known aspect of plant evolution is fascinating and tells us much more than we previously knew about how plants behaviourally adapt to changes in their environment, including mechanical accidents”.
Links: BBC, ScienceDaily
Editorial Comment: Bilaterally symmetrical flowers often have complicated structures designed to enable their pollinators to land in a specific position to collect and deposit pollen. Therefore, it does matter which way they are orientated.
A built-in backup system which enables the whole plant to recover correct flower orientation enabling effective pollination, is evidence of brilliant design for the whole plant, not just its flowers. Since evolutionists believe that plants with bilaterally symmetrical flowers evolved from plants with round flowers, they not only have to explain how the complex shapes of such flowers evolved, but also how an inbuilt re-orienting system evolved before there was any need for it. Being knocked over cannot make new genes which re-direct stem and/or flower orientation. Such anticipatory backup systems are ever only the result of forward planning, and never occur by chance random processes.
It is far more logical to believe that plants with bilateral flowers were created to work from the beginning, by an all-knowing Creator who could foresee they would need a complete recovery system. Even in a very good world, plants would be knocked over by people or animals brushing past them or treading on them. Therefore, it is no surprise that re-orientation is built into the plants “where it matters”.
Flower re-orientation is an example of pre-existing inbuilt adaptation, i.e. responding to a change in circumstances, but it is not evolution. For more on adaptation see the question: What is adaptation? Is it the same as evolution? Answer by Diane Eager here.
Creation Research News
10 June 2020